Researchers at the Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam have found that stem cell transplants may benefit some with Type 2 diabetes.
For the study, the researchers recruited 30 adult patients with various body mass indexes. Each had diabetes from one to 25 years. After administering two infusions of autologous bone marrow stem cells (taken from the patients’ own bodies), the researchers examined the patients again at one-month, three-month, six-month and 12-month follow-ups.
To measure the success of the treatment, the researchers measured changes in haemoglobin A1c (a measure of average blood sugar levels over the last three months), fasting blood glucose and C-peptide levels (a measure of how much insulin the body makes).
In the end, they found that patients who had diabetes for less than 10 years and who had a body mass index of less than 23 saw some short term therapeutic effects.
The data say the researchers, suggests that autologous administration of stromal stem cells could be performed on patients who have had diabetes for less than 10 years and who are not obese. They added that the treatment was nevertheless well-tolerated among all patients.
"Our patients tolerated the procedure well and showed short-term reductions in their blood glucose levels after the treatment," said Liem Nguyen, lead author of the study. "We also found that some of them were able to temporarily reduce the dosage of their diabetes medications."
Before being able to confirm the effectiveness of their treatment, however, the researchers say that a trial conducted on more people should be conducted. Such a trial, they say, should include people with different histories of Type 2 diabetes, and could help them better understand the mechanism underlying their present results.